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Drag kings take over the Nugget

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender hip-hop performers and drag kings lit up the stage last night at the Nugget Grill and Pub for the third annual “Queer Hip Hop: Uncensored” event.

Attendees included Cal State Long Beach students and supporters of the LGBT community.

This is the third year CSULB has hosted the event at The Nugget Grill and Pub, with the exception of 2012 due to a lack of coordination by its organizers.

Returning performers included Mack Mistress from Oakland, Calif. and new faces such as drag king performer, Ryder Knightly, and the openly gay rapper Deadlee, who the event’s coordinator, Julie Potter, said is known as a “pioneer of homo-hop.”

The event started with 30 seconds of silence to honor the “Transgender Day of Remembrance,” a day of remembrance dedicated to transgender individuals who have lost their lives due in their struggle to gain acceptance as a transgender.

Potter and Daniel Luna, president of CSULB Gay Straight Alliance, lit a candle on stage as they held hands and remembered those who have passed away.

The event kicked off with three drag king performances, including first-time drag king performer at the event, Ryder Knightly.

“I’m fairly new to the drag king scene,” Knightly said. “I have performed at Hamburger Mary’s and Club Ripples but this is my first time doing it here.”

As Knightly preformed, a table of her supporters rooted her on, with one friend throwing dollars on the stage. Mid-performance, Knightly came down from the stage to dance with her girlfriend.

“I’m here to support my friend [Knightly],” said Tyreh Hiriams, a non-CSULB student and attendee. “I support the whole [gay] community.”

Hiriams said he feels that by integrating LGBT and the hip-hop community, which often attaches a stigma with the LGBT community, “it balances out society in a good way.”

Some of those who attended felt that the hip-hop community and the LGBT community are progressing toward a positive future.

“I don’t see it as a divide [between the communities],” said senior creative writing major Lynn DeLacruz. “I do see this as a cool chance for people to see more sides of the [gay] community.”

A few CSULB students came to the Nugget without realizing “Queer Hip Hop: Uncensored” was taking place but stayed out of curiosity.

“I’ve never seen anything like this on campus but I think it’s really cool,” said Kristyn Benavidez, a senior communication studies major.

A few CSULB students, such as senior marketing major Ben Asuncion, said they felt that events, which merge the LGBT and hip-hop community, are an exciting presence on a college campus.

“I think it’s super cool that they’re combining the two,” Asuncion said. “Combining the two communities as opposed to how they were separate in the past.”

Attendees cheered on the performers with glowing support, many of them being the first time seeing drag kings perform live.

Potter said that her goal is to turn this event into an annual consecutive event that will continue on at CSULB even after she graduates.

“Thank you everyone for coming out and let’s make this happen every year, long after I’m gone,” Potter said.

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